Jan came back from Sonoma raving about the Venezuelan restaurant Pica Pica. On her website she gives her recipe for leek soup. Of course, I am incapable of following a recipe so I made a few changes. I am also not feeding a crowd so I reduced many of the ingredients.
In the past I have always made my leek soup with potatoes, ala vichyssoise. At Pica Pica she leave out the potatoes. This makes for a thinner soup, but it is just as tasty.
As a soup without starch or protein, I decided that this would not be a dinner soup. It needed a starch dish and a meat dish to make a complete meal. I chose to be eclectic and serve potato latkes and Sichuan pepper shrimp as well.
Karl’s Leek Soup ala Pica Pica
2 tablespoons corn oil
½ sweet yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
Pinch Kosher salt
3 green onions, sliced
2 leeks, sliced finely
2 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 cup low sodium chicken broth
¼ cup cilantro, separate uses
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the onions and celery. Sauté until translucent, about three minutes.
2. Add the green onions and leeks. Continue sautéing for three more minutes.
3. Pull the vegetables to the edges of the pot and add the garlic and black pepper to the hole in the middle. Sauté until fragrant, about thirty seconds.
4. Mix in the rest of the vegetables and stir in the chicken broth.
Tip: Be sure to scrape any vegetables free from the bottom of the pot, so that they do not scorch.
5. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
6. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.
7. Blend the soup smooth and add most of the cilantro.
Tip: Reserve a few leaves of the cilantro as garnish.
Note: You may use a standing blender to get a perfectly smooth soup or an immersion blender if you like a more rustic, chunky soup.
8. Serve the soup in individual bowls, garnished with remaining cilantro.